Football Game of the Week: Riordan and Mission at different stages heading into City showdown

Mission senior quarterback Antoine Porter has shouldered much of the load for the Bears this season and will likely need to do the same against Riordan on Saturday. (Photo by Devin Chen)

By Jeremy Balan

Leading up to the City’s most anticipated non-league football matchup of the season, the attitudes on the respective high school campuses could not be farther apart.

At Archbishop Riordan High School, where the Crusaders will host defending Academic Athletic Association champion Mission on Saturday, optimism is in high quantity.

Riordan is 2-0 and with a win over the Bears, would complete its first unbeaten non-league season since 2003 and would equal the Crusaders’ win total of the past three seasons combined.

“I’m really impressed with the team chemistry,” said Riordan head coach Richard Sweeney. “The kids have figured out that this is a team game. We’re playing an exciting brand of football right now, and with two local teams, it should be a great experience.”

Riordan junior quarterback Zach Masoli hasn’t been asked to throw a ton in the Crusaders’ first two games, but could have a big day against a Mission defense that struggled to hold down the Menlo passing attack last week. (Photo by Tawnya Gray)

At Mission, the sentiment is far from warm and fuzzy.

The Bears followed an impressive season-opening win over Hercules with a lopsided loss to Menlo last week. In the Menlo loss, senior running back Armani McFarland (a highly touted transfer from Riordan) injured his ankle and is questionable to play against his former school.

“I feel like we’re spinning our wheels a little bit and not really getting anything accomplished,” said Mission head coach Joe Albano. “Riordan is a good football team and they do everything well. They are similar to Menlo. If we put it all together, we can compete, but my team needs to decide to put it all together.”

One of the positives for the Bears has been the play of senior Antoine Porter, who has thrived at quarterback.

Porter has thrown for 428 yards, ran for 176 and has accounted for a combined eight touchdowns in the first two games.

“He’s really stepped up as a leader,” Albano said. “I’m waiting for other people to step up and no one has done that yet. He is the only one. He knows where he wants to go.”

Riordan’s signal-caller isn’t too shabby either.

Junior Zach Masoli hasn’t been asked to throw a ton (he has passed for 293 yards on 17-of-34 passing in two games), but he connected for five touchdowns last week against St. Mary’s and had two scores through the air against Lincoln.

Masoli hasn’t needed to shoulder a major load, unlike Porter, due to the emergence of senior running back Tre’ Gunter, who has 192 yards on just 25 carries this season.

“I don’t now what their plan is for Zach, but I think we’re pretty multifaceted,” Sweeney said. “It may be hard for them to concentrate on one aspect.”

The performance of both quarterbacks, combined with a pair of defenses that have been susceptible to allowing high passing yardage, could also indicate shootout.

Mission allowed Menlo’s pair of quarterbacks to throw for 241 yards and four touchdowns last week, and Riordan allowed St. Mary’s quarterback Kevin Flemer to throw for 262 yards and three touchdowns.

“We have to shore up that side of the football,” Sweeney said. “We were exposed in the passing game last week.”

Other Games


Galileo @ De Anza (Richmond), 7 p.m.
The Lions (1-0-1) are undefeated, but may have the weakest non-league schedule in the City, which includes the Dons (1-1). De Anza went 2-7 last season, but prior to 2011, had three straight winless seasons.

Sacred Heart Cathedral @ Bishop O’Dowd (Oakland), 7 p.m.
The Irish (1-1) faced some harsh realities with a 28-7 loss to Campolindo last week and again will jump into a tough matchup against a solid East Bay squad. The Dragons (2-1) went 9-3 last season and were knocked out by Campolindo in the second round of the North Coast Section Division III playoffs.


Menlo-Atherton (Atherton) @ St. Ignatius, 1 p.m.
The Wildcats (1-1) hit the road for the first two weeks of the season and will host the Bears (1-1) in their home opener. St. Ignatius beat Menlo-Atherton 24-7 last season, but the Bears finished the year with a 9-3 record and fell to Serra in the Central Coast Section Division I championship game.

Washington @ Montgomery (Santa Rosa), 1:30 p.m.
It was a late addition, but the Eagles (0-1) squeezed in the Vikings (0-2) into one of the holes in their schedule. After their season-opening loss to El Camino last week, the Eagles will need to eliminate mistakes to beat Montgomery on the road.

Jefferson (Daly City) @ Balboa, 2 p.m.
After two losses to start the season, the Bucs (0-2) will have an opportunity to end their non-league schedule on a high note. The Indians (0-2) went 2-7 last season have lost their first two games of the year by a combined score of 84-6.

Lincoln @ El Camino (South San Francisco), 2 p.m.
The Mustangs (1-1) impressed with a double-digit win over Hillsdale last week and will get a true gauge of where they stand in the AAA when they take on the Colts (1-1). El Camino’s defense roughed up Washington last week and will face another run-heavy attack in Lincoln.

Marshall vs. Mission San Jose (Fremont) @ Tak Fudenna Stadium (Fremont), 7 p.m.
The Phoenix (0-2) have had anything but a smooth start, but will have the spotlight all to themselves on Saturday night in Fremont. The Warriors (0-2) have lost ten straight games, dating back to last year’s non-league slate.

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  1. jp says:

    Mcfarland didn’t transfer, some people know the real reason.

    • jbalan says:

      Uh, he did transfer. That’s what it’s called when you go from one school to another.

    • JJ says:

      What was the reason why he transferred to Mission? Is it confidential information?

      • Chris says:

        Can anyone tell me why Bobby Areanas is not playing at Riordan or is not listed in the roster. He was a promising player that transferred out of SHC. Is this confidential, is he playing?!

        • jbalan says:

          He is not playing.

          • Chris says:

            Thank you for that info…he was a good player. Many people in the Riordan community used that as a reason to say SHC was faltering as a school because boys did not want to attend SH but Riordan now.

            • wcalsf says:

              I understand he’s just playing hoops and baseball. Look out for the Crusader Hoops team this season!

              • Chris says:

                wcalsf, I hear Riordan has a 6’8 freshman from out of town? Does anyone know if SHC has any buzz with its freshman class? Does the class of 2016 contain any big boys 6’5 or 6’7??

              • AAA says:

                i heard the 6-7 freshman is out for the year with an injury

              • wcalsf says:

                I heard the same thing…there’s also a few transfers that made all-league on their previous team’s. Injury was mentioned possibly tongue in cheek from a rival…we’ll see.

              • Ari Gold says:

                SH has a 6’7 freshman or Riordan has a 6’7 freshmen?

              • SF_Mikey says:

                On the hoops front, Frankie Ferrari (Burlingame) transferred into Riordan as well. Solid player who’ll contribute at PG / SG. Should be interesting to see Frankie and Geru in the back court together.

                I checked out the Riordan game last Saturday vs St Marys and while I love to see them whoop it up against inferior competition – I can’t see them competing in the WCAL.

              • Ari Gold says:

                I got news for you Frankie, this isnt the PAL. This is the WCAL. After Trevor Dunbar, Connor Peterson, Jacqui Biggins/Andre Miller, Khalil James/Deandre Otis, Khalil Johnson are done with you, you wont be Ferrari, you’ll be Pinto.

              • wcalsf says:

                I think anyone would take a player that played varsity since freshman year and made all league averaging ~14pts/game last year as a sophmore playing the likes of SHC, Bellarmine El Camino and Riordan. He’s knows the game as he is a coach’s son and played for a solid coach in Dowd…Did I mention his brother is a freshman at Riordan? Pretty tough combo of Mabrey, Arenas, Ugbaja and Ferrari all have handles, pass and shoot. They will do well under coach Buckner…

  2. JoJo says:

    Good luck to the city boys on Phelan – it should be a good game. Here is an article that was in SFGate on Riordan the other day:

  3. Colormepurple says:

    Should be a great game! I hope the Crusaders can build on their momentum and not take this game for granted.

  4. D-Reck58 says:

    aww yu should of keep the 6 twan brah

  5. Chris says:

    Ari, Riordan does

  6. 415555 says:

    Is Mcfarland gonna play? I would so go to that game just to see that. J Balan anytime you need pics, you have my email!

  7. JJ says:

    Whether or not McFarland plays, I honestly think Riordan will win by 20+, just like what happened vs Lincoln.

  8. Myles . A says:

    Mission is going to win!! we are better than them at any other sport except baseball

  9. Michael says:

    Why doesn’t the Wide Reciever get any props for Mission, he went off last game against menlo and looks like a candidate for reciever of the year. He had a majority of Antoine’s passing yards last game.

  10. Michael says:

    I seen that, but he could be a key factor in this game. Have you seen how far back the riordan cornerbacks are, he could have a major game

  11. Ari Gold says:

    JB if youre going to across bay bridge you probably should leave no later than 2:30. Traffic starts up around that time. You’ll just have to find something to do in the east bay while youre waiting for the game to start.

    • jbalan says:

      That’s crazy talk. I was thinking 5 p.m.

      • Ari Gold says:

        if you like going < 5 mphs an hour from the fremont all the way across the bridge for the next hour, then 5pm is definitely you.

        i'll put it in LA terms since i lived there and youre from there, think, 405 in the morning commute at 645am from Van Nuys blvd all the way through the Sepulveda pass and you just want to exit Olympic blvd. Yah… that bad.

        • jbalan says:

          Haha. I’ve gone to the East Bay before in rush hour and it’s nowhere close to the 405. I usually take the 280 all the way to the end then take streets to get to the 80 entrance. The bridge normally moves after the S-Curve. I’m more worried about the East Bay freeways. I have no idea what traffic is like on the 580 or 880.

          • Ari Gold says:

            Well the biggest difference is the 101 bottleneck. I always just took the side street onto Sepulveda to avoid going up the hill. … Fridays are just the worst for the Bay Bridge. If you leave 230-3pm you’ll be fine. Everyone leaves early for work to get across the bridge. Always took me about an hour to cross the bridge on Fridays leaving at 4pm. Just hang out in Berkeley for a couple hours. It will be time well spent while waiting.

            • Don L. says:

              I’d have to agree with Ari. I commute across the Bay Bridge from SF to Oakland frequently for my adult basketball leagues as well as attending Golden State Warrior games. Mondays are usually the best days. Even leaving at 5:45 PM, I get to my destination (on 580) in about 35 to 45 minutes. Thursday are pretty horrid. It’ll take 30 to 40 minutes just to get to the Bay Bridge though will clear up after the S-Curve.

              Friday is the worst days unless you beat traffic really early.

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